Streaming: poison for the music industry?

Antonio TalaricoGeneralLeave a Comment

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The fat cat streaming services are eating most of the pie and leaving only a thin slice for the artists. We know the story: the all-you-can-stream model appears to please the passive listener. What about the active listener though (those heavily invested in their artists)? Spotify alternatives (like Musicoin) are cropping up thick and fast with a new model. Many of them run on blockchain technology. Indie blockchain musicians are reaping the financial rewards already. Many are feeding the fat cats too, but cutting a bigger slice of another streaming pie for themselves.

Is the pie poisonous?
Record labels are notorious for being dubious of new music services. Disruptive companies often mean less profit for them, so there appears to be logic behind it, but is there? New services mean an extra revenue source for labels. Of course, they have the potential to overtake the more profitable, established services. Scale matters and many customers go for good value. Vinyl are selling like hotcakes though, for more than a month’s Spotify subscription. This suggests that many consumers want more than an unlimited stream counter. Could it be that they want to offer fairer compensation to their favourite artists?
New, fairer streaming services offer up new artists to discover. When the focus is on unsigned artist promotion, the balance tips.

Is the music industry broken?
Who are those dissatisfied with the current status of the music industry? Some say, disgruntled artists or poor businesspeople. Some artists prefer to keep complete control of their careers though. Also, some business people prefer to innovate, rather than follow the stream. Perspective counts. The reality is that the music industry is in a perfect condition, for some, but an imperfect one for others. The juggernaut labels and the big indies are still successful. The odd independent artist is too, through record sales platforms like Bandcamp. Music industry blockchain startups are now also opening up streaming for independents. Instant cryptocurrency payments cut out the middlemen and mean artists can create more. Does this make labels redundant? Not quite. Many labels now act more as artist services agencies, because artists could still use a hand. When it comes to the money in their hands though, new streaming services could multiply it.



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